I was grumpy yesterday morning.
A few months ago, I spent some time researching camps for my kids. I thought I found a perfect fit at a local YMCA swim camp. Swimming twice a day? Only a few blocks away? Inexpensive!? For just two weeks!? They would have a ball.
So far, they hate it. They complain that it’s too much like school, that I didn’t ask them if they wanted to do it before I signed them up, that there’s no free play, that they just want to relax, and on and on. I struggled to get them up and ready for camp, with them resisting the whole way through breakfast and during the walk there.
Argh. Besides being disappointed that it didn’t work out as planned, I’m frustrated about how difficult they’re being about it. From my perspective, they’re not even making an effort to like it. Or at least make the best of it.
So I started my workday grumpy, and subsequent events didn’t help to improve my mood. The majority of my morning got sucked up making travel arrangements for a trip I didn’t even want to take. Trying to coordinate with my fellow traveler, while watching the plane fares rise even with every click of my mouse (yep, there’s that “just missed out” limiting belief again) left me feeling less than productive and, well, grumpy.
At 11:30, I stepped outside to move our car for alternate side parking, and was relieved to have a reason to get away from my desk for a moment to clear my head. I love being outside, especially in summer, even if it’s 95 degrees. I sat on our front steps for a few minutes, feeling resentful that my grumpiness was interfering in my peaceful moment. I envisioned myself being happy and feeling uplifted by some other scenario instead and longed for such an experience in that moment. What would make me feel better? A quick walk? Chocolate? Listening to an upbeat song on my iPod?
As I was fishing around in my thoughts for something that would shift my upset, I suddenly saw, as clear as day, that I was letting external circumstances dictate my mood, and that eating chocolate, or taking a walk, or playing a fun song to lift my mood, were all just more external circumstances. Where was the power in that? I know conceptually that personal power resides in how you RESPOND to a situation. And in my mind’s eye, I separated myself from the camp, and the travel arrangements, and said – ok, you’re over there, and I’m over here. Now, how do I want to feel?
Once I was aware of the separation of my circumstances and my response to them, I concentrated on bringing myself to a neutral place. At least from there, my feelings weren’t dictating how I would approach the rest of my day. Satisfied, I went back inside and got back into the flow of my day.
Last night, as I was putting Julian to bed, we discussed the camp. I said I was sorry that he wasn’t enjoying it. He sighed as he turned over to go to sleep. “I’m just going to go with it,” he said. “Just because I’m miserable doesn’t mean I have to gripe about it.”